Married professors tend to geology museum

Logan Lutton

Rodney Feldmann, an emeritus professor of geology, and Carrie Schweitzer, a professor of geology at Kent State Stark, are the husband and wife duo who currently tend to the geology museum in McGilvrey Hall. The collection has specimens ranging from fossils to minerals, with over 70 displays free to view during regular building hours. 

The building has been around since the late 1930s. Since then, the collection has grown through donations from faculty and amateur collectors in the community.

Feldmann has been at Kent State since 1965. Now semiretired, he continues to teach graduate-level courses at the university. Schweitzer teaches introductory geology courses at the Stark campus. They both still contribute to the collection and give tours of the building. 

“We’ve done a couple of specific trips for specimens,” Schweitzer said. “Everywhere we go, … we grab stuff that would be good for displays.”

These displays are located in the hallways of the second and third floors.

“If you put it in a room and lock the room up, no one gets a chance to see it,” Feldmann said.

Schweitzer also sees the importance of accessibility.

“People need to see what rocks and fossils look like to understand how we’re classifying them,” Schweitzer said. “Geology can be really specimen-intensive.” 

Evin Maguire, a doctoral candidate in the geology department who also gives tours of the facility, said some of the most frequent visitors are Boy Scout troops.

“Usually, they ask about dinosaurs, and we have to tell them that there are no dinosaurs in Ohio,” Maguire said. “All of the fossils in Ohio are much older than any dinosaur. They also really love the crystals, and they’ll bring in their little geodes. It’s actually pretty refreshing to see that kids are still interested in this stuff nowadays.” 

Maguire has also contributed to the museum. Last spring, he took a class taught by Feldmann about museum curation. By the end of the course, Maguire had to make his own display.  

“The one I did was called ‘Lost Worlds of Ohio,’” Maguire said. “It basically goes through how the fossils in Ohio have changed over time and gives some examples of it.” 

There is one thing that the museum doesn’t have: a triceratops skull. There is a rumor they had one on the third floor that was removed years ago.

“I would be very happy to have a triceratops skull, but we don’t have one,” Feldmann said.

Feldmann describes the objectives for the collection.

“The object of the collection is to allow people to come in and view it and learn something,” Feldmann said. “We’re constantly working and trying to make the displays more educational and attractive.”  

Logan Lutton is the sciences reporter. Contact her at [email protected].